Harry Vanderslice had a mantra: “Reach out and help someone, and enjoy life.”
Last Wednesday, the 18th edition of his memorial golf tournament certainly provided the opportunity for participants to do both. Approximately 144 golfers, family members, friends and community members took over Greate Bay Country Club to honor “Big Harry” and son-in-law Jack Davis the way they would want it: with a day of sports, laughs and fellowship.
Vanderslice was a longtime Ocean City Little League coach, mentor and good friend to countless Ocean City residents who passed away in 1999. The tournament was started to raise funds for scholarships to graduating seniors on the Ocean City High School football team, and to support the football team. The tourney name was changed to Vanderslice-Davis six years ago when Harry’s son-in-law Jack passed away.
“(Harry) would be absolutely thrilled to see all of this happening,” said his niece, Susie Hagan. “He was a very gregarious and outgoing man. He would love it that everyone was having so much fun while they were helping others.”
The weather was near perfect, warm and sunny with low humidity for the golfers. For their entry fee they received greens fees, lunch, dinner, hat, and a “swag bag.” The day’s events included a chance to win a boat courtesy of MarineMax in Somers Point and a car provided by Perry-Egan of Ocean City for a hole-in-one. Nobody won, but they enjoyed the chance to shoot for it.
There was also a raffle for various goods and services, live and silent auctions and for the first time a chipping and putting contest. But mostly, there were laughs, fellowship and many stories told about Harry and Jack.
Vanderslice raised eight children in Ocean City and impacted countless lives with his coaching style and encouragement. His message to his young charges was simple yet profound: “Hustle kids, hustle.” He was a recipient of the Golden Deeds Award of the Ocean City Exchange Club for his work, an honor repeated recently by son Harry, Jr.
Following Jack’s untimely death, the tournament name change took place to honor the mechanic, surfer, car-restorer and all around good guy who was married to Harry’s daughter Valerie.
“Dad would be so proud of what the event has accomplished,” Val said. “Education was number one with him. He would write us letters encouraging us and he gave us 20 vocabulary words to learn.”
The message took hold as all eight of his kids graduated from college, said Valerie, a graduate of Rowan University who now teaches math at Lower Cape May Regional High.
“Harry would love this,” his widow Marty said. “It’s fun and it’s for a great cause he believed in.”